You may not be able to scale the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but you can still juice up your exercise regimen by adding rock climbing moves to your workout.
Traditional rock climbing is a movement-based exercise that focuses the mind while training your entire body at the same time. Climbing engages your core, lower muscles, and upper muscles together – giving you a more intense and efficient workout. If you’re always trying to think of ways to keep your time at the gym more fun and interesting, then you may benefit from introducing your body to some adapted rock climbing moves.
Climbing on the Rise
Climbing fitness is making a comeback. First introduced in 1981, the VersaClimber machine was quickly forgotten once the Stairmaster and ellipticals were invented. But recently, classes focused on the climbing machine has popped up in two trendy LA gyms, Rise Nation and Sirens and Titans.
But you don’t need a fancy machine to benefit from a climbing-based workout – in fact, all the exercises below can be done at home with minimal equipment (a fitness mat and a couple of free weights).
The following exercises are listed from easier to more difficult. Keep your pace up, with minimal breaks between sets, in order to mimic the cardio component of rock climbing. If you’ve never exercised before, you might want to consult a personal trainer or medical professional before diving in.
5 Climbing-Based Moves to Try
- Mountain Climbers – Begin on a mat in downward dog position, with your fingers spread wide and your head down. Bring your right knee almost to your chest and then switch out quickly with your left knee, like you are running or scampering up a mountain. Continue for 30-60 seconds. Make it harder: Bring your knees up on the outside of your elbows.
- Good Morning Planks – Start in push-up position with hands on the mat. Lift your right hand off the mat and point your fingertips to the ceiling, turning your body until it is facing the wall. Return right hand to starting position, and repeat with your left hand. Do ten reps.
- Hip Thrusts – Lie on your back with your feet on a bench or chair, with your knees bent to a 90-degree angle. Raise your hips up as high as you can while squeezing your glutes, then relax back down. Repeat 20 times. Make it harder: Hold a weight on top of your pelvis.
- Pulsing Lunges – Start with your feet together. Step forward with your right foot and lower your body until your left knee almost touches the floor. Do a “pulse” by rising up a little and then lowering back down. Now stand up fully and walk forward to return to your starting position. Repeat with your left leg. Do ten reps. Make it harder: Add weights.
- Squat Jumps – Start with your feet at hip width, toes slightly turned out. Squat down slightly and jump as high as you can, and land back in a squat position with your thighs parallel to the floor. Do 15 reps.
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